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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Knicks Offseason Decisions Begin

With free agency commencing, the Knicks will have to make a major decision regarding their two restricted free agents, David Lee and Nate Robinson. New York has 8 players on their roster that could play the PF or C position: Curry, Milicic, Hill, Wilcox, Hunter, Sene, Gallinari, Jeffries, and Harrington. So on one hand the Knicks have the depth to let David Lee go. However at a second glance, it’s clear that the team would be hard pressed to replace Lee’s production. Although Hill and Gallinari might develop into NBA starters, none of the above are starting material on a good playoff team. Additionally the Knicks rebounding would suffer significantly, since that group is collectively bad on the glass (save perhaps Hill).

In the backcourt they face a different dilemma. If Robinson departs without a replacement, Toney Douglas would be the only backup for Duhon at the point. At shooting guard, the team would primarily rely on Chandler and Hughes, with Douglas and Joe Crawford as reserves. If last year was any indication, the Knicks can’t afford to be this thin at guard.

At this time the popular opinion is that the Knicks would prefer to keep Lee and might let Robinson leave. Considering the current roster construction, it’s hard to envision that scenario because they have more depth behind Lee than Nate. With this being just the start of free agency, the personnel may differ greatly between now and opening day. Not only do other teams covet Robinson and Lee, giving the team the option to shake up their roster with a sign & trade, but there have been rumors about a few Knicks being desired around the league. The Wizards may wish to reunite with Hughes and Jeffries, Wilson Chandler has been coveted by other teams, and with Yao Ming out for the season the Rockets are in hot pursuit of Eddy Curry. OK that last one I made up, but nonetheless there will be many opportunities that could provide New York with the ability to shuffle their roster.

Not only does the team have to consider this upcoming season, but the one after. The Knicks are poised for making a big splash in free agency next summer, so long term salaries are an issue. New York also needs to think about what talent will be remaining in 2010. Currently they only have 4 players on contract for that season in Curry, Jeffries, Gallinari, and Chandler, with their 2 draft picks this year (Hill and Douglas) likely to join them. While getting rid of both Robinson and Lee would free up their purses, it may leave the cupboard bare for an incoming acquisition. The Knicks will need to balance between making the team attractive for a mega-star and having enough money to bring one in.

171 comments on “Knicks Offseason Decisions Begin

  1. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I believe someone asked this in another thread, but it seems more appropriate to answer it here. Teams can begin to talk to free agents today. However no one can officially sign a contract until the July moratorium ends, which is July 8th.

    Any team with a restricted free agent that signs a contract on the 8th, will have 7 days to match. So if Lee or Nate signs with another team, we probably won’t officially know until July 15th. Of course the team can speed that timetable up by re-signing the player or working out a sign & trade.

  2. cwod

    It seems like the Thunder and Grizzlies are both going to pursue Milsap and Lee. What are the chances that either team would give us anything of value in a sign-and-trade? Probably not great. What’s Earl Watson’s status? Sefolosha? Meh. The Grizzlies don’t have anything really.

  3. cgreene

    Let’s get down to brass tacks here. (I have no idea what the means btw.)

    1) Do we want Kidd? At what price? $5M per for 2 years? No way he accepts 1 year IMO.
    2) Do we prefer to go harder and longer after Ramon Sessions as a more long term PG solution and eat into 2010-2011 cap to outbid Milwaukee?
    3) What do we think Lee is really worth? $42M over 5? Tiered at year 1 $6.5M year 2 $6.5M year 3$9M year 4 $9M year year 5 $11M? You sell him on taking the back end deal to stay in NYC, play D’Antoni ball and be part of the rebuild? Would he accept the deferred?

  4. TDM

    This from Ken Berger this morning:

    “David Lee’s days in New York are effectively over, said a source who believes that agent Mark Bartelstein will find the Knicks’ choking point and exceed it by a dollar in negotiations with Oklahoma City and/or Memphis. “It’s a tough loss for New York, but they don’t want to screw up their 2010 plan,” the person said. The money will be there for Lee, especially now that Boozer is off the market. The only reason for Lee to think twice is the added bang for the buck he’s gotten out of playing in New York. He won’t be a known commodity anymore in OKC or Memphis.”

    This article raises the question of, in D Lee’s mind, how much is it worth to play in a big market like NY over OKC or Memphis. I have to say though, that I think the statement that he won’t be a “known commodity” is a bit of an exaggeration. The typical NBA fan, outside of NY, really has little to no idea who David Lee is. My friend is a huge Pistons fan – I had to explain to him why Dumars was interested in him. My friends who are Lakers fans, likewise, have no idea who he is.

    Assuming that the “known commodity” angle is overblown, does that mean that Lee would simply chase the money whereever it takes him? I don’t think so, but even so, both OKC and Memphis have exciting young players. Hopefully, these teams will focus their efforts on other targets, like Millsap.

  5. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    cgreene – I don’t think you can build a contract like that. I think a yearly raise can’t be more than a fixed percent (10? 12.5? 15? – I forget). If it’s 12.5%, then they can start at $7M and he’d end up with about $45M over 5 years (7.0 + 7.9 + 8.9 + 10.0 + 11.2 = 44.9). At 10% raise, it would be ~ $43M (7.0 + 7.7 + 8.5 + 9.3 + 10.2 = 42.7).

  6. cgreene

    Mike, pretty sure you are correct actually. Would you take it if you were Lee? Do we think it is a good deal for the Knicks?

  7. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    cgreene – it all comes down to what the market is offering. If I were Lee I’d at least wait to see what other teams are going to pay me. And that may not happen until some of the free agents begin to land and teams realize they either don’t have the money to sign Lee (because they signed someone else) or they have lots of money for Lee (because they didn’t get their Plan A guy).

  8. ess-dog

    Would you rather have Lee at 9 mil or Gortat at 6 mil?
    What is Sessions worth in this market?

  9. cgreene

    why on earth do we want another backup center in Gortat? I think that would be a terrible waste of $. We just traded for Darko. Lee at 9 definitely.

    Mike, my point is that the spread looks to be about 10% btwn the offer we are suggesting and an offer that averages to $10M per. The only thing that I would be interested in if I were Lee would be Detroit (MAYBE because I think they are on the decline) or Portland (who seems to be in the market for everybody and their mother) so I could get on a playoff team.

  10. Jafa

    I think David Lee will follow the money. How many other chances will he have to be the big fish forward in a FA market (especially with Boozer and Okur off the market)? What if he get hurt next year and his value declines? And 2010 is going to be chuck full of forwards that are better than him (Amare, Bosh, Boozer to name a few) so he may not see this kind of money for a long time.

    Going to a playoff bound team is irrelevant for a guy in his position (just a few years into his NBA career). Playing time and generous compensation and probably high on his list, so I think he goes to the highest bidder (which I think will be OKC because they offer both things better than Memphis or NY).

    Here’s hoping Hill and the other 1-year rental forwards fill in well for us.

  11. ess-dog

    I agree with Jafa. Put yourself in Lee’s position. This is his big shot. In 5 years, he will be on the decline. You go for the money. One issue is his (extremely hot) girlfriend is a model, and Memphis or OKC are probably the last places on earth you want to move if you are a model. It’s going to be a tough decision for D. Lee, but if he get 10, 11 mil he’s gone in my opinion.
    And cgreene, Gortat’s rebounding rate was better than Lee’s last year I believe, and he blocks shots – in other words, he’s a real center. Pairing him with Hill wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Swingmen and forwards are relatively easy to come by compared to point guards and centers that will actually do their job (see Marbury, Stephon and Curry, Edward.)

  12. Frank

    would you guys S&T Lee to OKC for expiring contracts and the better of their 2 unprotected #1s next year? That might be worth it. Or to Memphis although I don’t think Memphis has the contracts to make it work.

    I kinda think Lee is staying to be honest. Heisley is too cheap to pay 10MM per year and I don’t see Presti over-bidding for Lee either. If we can get him at 8-9 million/year I think that’s pretty good. Detroit is a dark horse but who wants to move to Detroit? (or OKC or Memphis?)

    And Nate+Jefferies to Sac-Town for Kenny Thomas is still a great move if we can pull it off. Win-Win since Nate will put people in the seats in Sac, and losing JJ’s contract will be HUGE. I wonder if that deal is already handshake-done — otherwise I can’t imagine Donnie would be entertaining signing someone to the MLE.

    A Nate, Kevin Martin, and Tyreke Evans backcourt is not so bad — all 3 guys seem to have different skill sets that might work well together.

  13. cgreene

    My point was that they already made their center move with Darko whether it is a good one or not. So you are saying that they should sign Gortat and start the season with Darko, Curry, Gortat, Lee, Hill all on the roster??? Gortat $ much better spent on Sessions, Andre Miller, Kidd etc.

    Yes I agree that Lee will follow the $. However, if the total difference between signing with OKC and signing with the Knicks is say $6M on a $45M deal. That % plus the desire to stay in NY could certainly keep him here. That’s not the difference between making double somewhere else.

  14. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “So you are saying that they should sign Gortat and start the season with Darko, Curry, Gortat, Lee, Hill all on the roster??? Gortat $ much better spent on Sessions, Andre Miller, Kidd etc.”

    Darko and Curry are short term fixes. In another year the team is going to need a center, unless Hill defies all odds or the plan is to grab Bosh. I’d rather see Gortat in a Knicks uniform in lieu of Kidd or Miller. It’s been a while since we’ve had a big imposing center that can block shots and rebound. It’d be a nice return to form for the franchise.

    I think there’s a 1 percent chance New York signs him, especially with Houston hot & heavy on him & probably will offer him the starting job + the full MLE. I love New York, but even I would head to Houston if that were the case.

  15. Brian Cronin

    According to Yahoo, the rumor is that Memphis is preparing a $50 million offer to Lee.

    I presume that’s $50 million over 5 years, and if so, do you think the Knicks would match that?

  16. Jafa

    Brian,
    $50M over 5yrs may be too rich for the Knicks. Waiting on 2010 is becoming a bigger gamble than I anticipated, and I seriously hope it is worth it.

  17. Brian Cronin

    The Daily News reports that the Knicks are planning on giving Lee an opening offer of 4 years/$32 million.

    Is 4 years/$32 million really that much different from 5 years/$50 million, from a cap standpoint?

  18. ess-dog

    I still haven’t heard any numbers attached to either Gortat or Sessions. In my book, Gortat + Sessions for 12 mil > Lee + Nate for 12 mil…

  19. Z

    The Knicks do have the hot girlfriend in their corner, which is WAY more than the Thunder can offer; however, signing with the Knicks at a reduced rate actually lessens his control over his own destiny. A reduced rate Lee signed to a long term contract can be traded in 3 months to any team and from then on he’d have no leverage what-so-ever. His hot girlfriend probably doesn’t understand this aspect of the business, and Bartelstein will try to convince Lee that “there are hot girls in Oklahoma too”.

  20. Z

    If Lee signs an offer sheet with the Griz, can the Knicks do a sign-and-trade to a different team (like the Pistons)? Would it have to be for the same terms as the Griz contract? (Restricted Free Agency is quite confusing…)

  21. ess-dog

    I think you have to do a deal with the team that the player intends to sign with…

    also, meant to say Gortat and Sessions for 12 mil > Lee and Nate for 15 mil…

  22. Brian Cronin

    Now it appears that the offer is $34 million for four years.

    Now, obviously, the years are not going to cut it, but if you extend that to five/six years, you have yourself a competitive offer, and one that should be close enough to the other teams that either:

    A. Lee will figure a million or so a year can be made up for with endorsements in New York

    or

    B. The Knicks will match an offer close to that figure.

  23. Brian Cronin

    And I’d probably agree with that, ess-dog, vis a vis Gortat/Sessions vs. Lee/Nate.

    It’s close, though.

    In other rumor news, Nate Robinson is apparently considering taking the Knicks’ qualifying offer, figuring that 2010 will be a much better market for his services.

  24. Caleb

    re: Lee,

    Based on Chad Ford’s roundup, these teams will likely have enough cap space to offer a contract with more than $8 million a year.
    Pistons $18 million
    Grizzlies $14 million
    Thunder $13 million
    Raptors $9 million
    Blazers $8 million

    First off, forget sign and trades with these teams — these teams are not going to send back valuable assets when they can just go ahead and sign Lee. Sign and trade is only an option with teams that DON’T have cap room — e.g. the Bulls offer Noah and Kirk Hinrich (just to throw out a random offer).

    Of the list above, the Blazers look like they’re going hard after Turkoglu, and they already have a power forward.

    I don’t think Lee signs in Memphis. No decent agent would let his player go to that franchise, if there’s a remotely similar offer.

    Detroit is a huge threat, but if they really go after Ben Gordon – as reported – they won’t have enough to throw $9-10 million a year at Lee.

    The Raptors haven’t made any noise about this… a mystery.

    Which leaves Oklahoma City. The team is well run, there’s good talent and they need a PF – so on a basketball level, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them make a run at Lee. That said, it’s Oklahoma City. Hard to see him signing on there, unless the offer is silly-big – like $75-80 million – and I don’t think Presti would blow his stack like that.

    Bottom line: No one is likely to blow the Knicks out of the water. If Lee is traded, it will be to a more established team, as part of a deal to move Curry, something like that.

    My own take: at 6 years, $60 million, Lee is only an okay value — no great. But without Lee, the Knicks are a 20-25 win team, and out of the picture for LeBron or anyone comparable. In other words, they HAVE to match. Luckily, I don’t see any chance of getting stuck with an awful deal.

    With a 12.5 percent annual raise, Walsh could start Lee at just over $7 million, and get to a contract worth more than $50 million. That seems like the strategy, and the most likely outcome. Walsh will offer more years and Lee will be back.

  25. Caleb

    “If Lee signs an offer sheet with the Griz, can the Knicks do a sign-and-trade to a different team (like the Pistons).”

    No – if the Knicks match the offer he is considered a newly-signed free agent, and they aren’t allowed to trade him for 3 months or until December 15th, whichever is later.

    In practice, if the Knicks threaten to match, they can push Lee to work out a deal with a different team that they consider a viable trade partner.

  26. Ben R

    Do you think we might be able to get value for Duhon? He is a servicable starting PG or a great backup and he has an expiring contract. Maybe to Portlnd for one of their young talented wings, since they are looking to sign Hedo; Rudy or Batum plus Outlaw’s expiring or how about to Denver for Lawson’s rights plus a TE.

    If Denver is really looking to win now I would think a good proven backup PG who is still young enough to be there a while would be more valuable than the potential that Lawson will one day be better. Especially since the consensus around the league seems to be that Lawson is destined to be a backup anyway.

    Also I would think Harrington would have some value; he put up better numbers than Hedo last year, is younger, is a better defender and has an expiring contract so a team can try him for a year before commiting anything huge. If I was Walsh I would try and move him to one of the free agancy losers and maybe swing a young player or pick out of the deal.

    If 2010 is really the year then we need to look at all our expirings and see what value we can milk out of them if they do not fit into our long term plans.

    As for Lee I will be very very angry if we let him walk for nothing. I think he is worth what ever the market sets for him and he needs to be in a Knick uniform next season.

    Another idea is Powe, he is unrestricted I believe Boston is not pursuing him because of his injury. I think a small 3 year offer like 3 years 5 million would be a great offer to see if he can come back whole from his injury, he has been great in limited minutes so far in his career and would be a low risk, high reward move.

  27. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    The Knicks cannot sign two guys to the MLE. They’d have to pull a sign-and-trade to get both Sessions and Gortat. Sessions is a RFA, so the Bucks will probably match an offer or get all they can in a sign-and-trade.

    I’m not as enamored with Sessions as a lot of people seem to be. Good PG, but probably slightly above average right now. He’s still developing, so I guess you’re betting on his learning curve by signing him.

    Like Sessions, Gortat would be someone you hope develops further. On the positive side he’s a C, which are much harder to come by than PGs. On the negative side he’s already 25, compared to Sessions at 23. While the idea would be for him to develop into a starter and I think he’s a significant upgrade over Darko, I can see cgreene’s point a little and guess you would have to be absolutely smitten to sign him knowing it hurts whatever small chances there are that Darko develops and Jeffries/Curry can be wiped off the cap.

    I think I would take Nate and Lee over Sessions and Gortat, but I don’t know.

    Short-term, I’m warming to the idea of signing Kidd. In year 1 he makes the Knicks a better team, probably a contender to make the playoffs if they keep Nate and Lee. I don’t know that he does anything in the LeBron sweepstakes, but he might help you get Bosh and would probably seal the deal for Amare. Gortat is pretty intriguing, though.

    I’m thinking that the Knicks best shot at LeBron is Dwayne Wade (not likely) or Chris Bosh (pretty likely), not a team that contends for the 8 seed (and maybe gets it) next season. If they don’t win it this year he’s looking at ancient free-agent Cs Shaq and Z plus long-term sidekicks of Mo Williams, Delonte West, and maybe Charlie Villanueva. The Cavs would have a solid contender, but LeBron, Bosh, Danilo, and strong development from Chandler, Hill, Douglas, and whoever else could be the start of a dynasty… Of course, the Cavs have 2010 cap space as well.

  28. Caleb

    I have to dissent from the mad love for Ramon Sessions – I like him, but I don’t know that he’s clearly better than Nate. He is obviously a pure PG and much better passer, and with his size he’s a better defender. He’s also two years younger — but at the same time he’s not nearly the shooter and scorer that Nate is. Two very different players, but similar value, IMO.

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because the Bucks traded Jefferson and renounced Villanueva specifically so they can match offers for Sessions. They might have to give up if someone like Portland offers $50 million, but it’s a waste of time to try and reel in Sessions with the mid-level.

    The Kidd stuff is surprising – most likely, it’s coming from Kidd’s agent, trying to stir up offers. If there’s anything on the Knick side of the equation, you have to think Walsh has another move up his sleeve. For example, if Nate agreed, Walsh could trade Nate and Jeffries to Sacramento for Kenny Thomas’ expiring deal, re-sign Lee at an $8 million starting salary and still have $26 million in 2010 cap room — enough to make a 2- or 3-year mid-level offer, and still sign LeBron to a max deal.

    Without a move like that, the Knicks can’t afford more than a one-year mid-level offer, unless they want to risk the 2010 space.

  29. Ted Nelson

    Sorry for the double post.

    Caleb,

    “First off, forget sign and trades with these teams — these teams are not going to send back valuable assets when they can just go ahead and sign Lee.”
    “In practice, if the Knicks threaten to match, they can push Lee to work out a deal with a different team that they consider a viable trade partner.”

    I agree more with the second quote. Another team can sign Lee, and then the Knicks can screw up their chances of signing other attractive free agents for a week and match their offer, either keep Lee long-term or find someone willing to give expiring contract(s) at the deadline… So, if the Knicks play their cards right they can get a sign-and-trade. Maybe nothing very valuable, but at least a trade exception and 2nd rounder or likely late 1st the Thunder own… something like that.

  30. Ben R

    I am right with you on Sessions. From where I’m sitting he projects to be nothing more than a solid starting PG at best. His assists are good 7.5/36 and his assist turnover ratio is good 3:1 but neither are amazing. His rebounds and steals are solid 4.5/36 rebs and 1.4/36 stls but they are only solid. Scoring the ball he is less impressive, his output is good 16.2/36 pts but his TS% 52.5% is average at best and he has no 3 point shot 17.6% on 34 attempts.

    I would be happy to have him on the Knicks but he is not worth anything more than the MLE in my opinion and is not worth risking a big signing next season.

  31. Caleb

    Ben, I totally agree that Duhon has value.. also Harrington, and even Larry Hughes. None of them is likely to be a Knick in 2010-2011, so I hope we can move them for picks or players before the deadline.

    I would be overwhelmed to swap Duhon for Lawson but how likely that is, depends on whether Denver sees him as a stopgap or a steal. My guess is that if they bothered trading for him, they think they snagged a steal. (I agree – I expect Lawson will be better than Duhon, even his rookie year).

    I also think a package of Curry and Mobley might be doable — Alan Hahn said Houston was intrigued, which seems farfetched, but look at it this way: by giving up expiring contracts, a team can get Curry for free or even save money — his 2010-2011 salary is basically offset by Mobley’s insurance. A team that doesn’t think it can attract free agents anyway, might take low/no-risk flyer. (Sacramento, Charlotte, New Orleans. etc… maybe some others, if they sign FAs this summer that put them out of the running for 2010).

  32. Caleb

    if the Knicks play their cards right they can get a sign-and-trade. Maybe nothing very valuable, but at least a trade exception and 2nd rounder or likely late 1st the Thunder own… something like that.”

    That’s true, but it seems like a minor factor — Walsh would proobably rather keep Lee at the salaries we’ve been throwing around, than let him leave for a 2nd round pick. And I think Presti would rather sign Paul Millsap, than give up more than a token, in a trade.

  33. Ben R

    I agree about Lawson, I guess I am just holding out hope because once he signs we have no chance.

    The only reason Denver might be tempted is Duhon’s defense which is much better than Lawson’s, that is actually Lawson’s one big question mark in my opinion, he is small and got lit up a number of times last year.

  34. Ben R

    So if Portland gets Hedo, Detriot gets Villanuava and Gordon and Oklahoma gets Millsap that just leaves Memphis and Toronto as teams that can challange us for Lee.

    Toronto does not seem interested and I just heard the Grizzlies owner pulled the purse strings away from the GM and does not want to pay big money for Lee.

    If everything works out well Lee might have no choice but sign with NY for maybe less than we thought.

  35. Z

    If only Curry had shown up at all last year I think the Rockets interest would be serious. They have great defenders to back Eddy up, and game 7 against the Lakers showed that they desperately need someone who can stand by the basket and dunk the ball.

    The Curry + Mobley for McGrady deal works salary wise, and the necessary add ons could probably be worked out… But Curry is SUCH a wild-card going into next year (another article came out in the Sun Times yesterday about his financial woes) that the Rockets would be insane bringing him on and expecting him to contribute.

  36. Z

    Someone yesterday said the Knicks should take a look at Morris Almond. Well, they just put him on the summer league roster. Good call.

  37. ess-dog

    Wait, you guys want to trade the only point guard on the roster for a rookie point guard? As much as I like Lawson, I don’t see Donnie doing that. Which brings me to Sessions… sure he’s not an all-star, but he’s improving and what are the other options??? We are looking at having no point options at all by 2010… the position that runs the team? hello?? I’m just hoping Donnie has a plan regarding the point position. I think we could get Sessions for a pretty good price since the Bucks are so poor right now… maybe for Duhon a 2nd rounder? Then at least we would have a starter in 2010.
    And as for Curry, he is a league-wide joke. He will only be movable in the last year of his deal for a longer deal. Period. We may as well just sit him for a couple years.
    I agree Ben R, that the market could play out that way. I’m guessing that Millsap is eager to move now b/c of Boozer. Lee has already refused to be traded to Memphis. I would say odds are at least %50 Lee returns. I just don’t see interest from the Pistons or Toronto. And the Blazers are focused on Hedo.

  38. Frank

    Our fall-back point guard option in 2010 in Nash for the MLE. I feel quite confident that Nash will come if he is wanted here. He can probably give us 2 reasonable years during which we can find our PG of the future.

  39. Caleb

    Tony Parker is a FA in 2010.

    But I wouldn’t worry about that – you don’t build your team around Chris Duhon, if you can trade him for a good young player or draft pick.

  40. david

    ESPN is reporting that OKC is making an offer for Milsap that the Utah probably won’t match. As far as Lee goes, that cuts the market for him down to, well, probably down to Memphis.

  41. TDM

    “Someone yesterday said the Knicks should take a look at Morris Almond. Well, they just put him on the summer league roster. Good call.”

    That was me, and I’m relieved to see that Donnie is reading my posts.

  42. Frank O.

    Paying Lee $10 mil a year for five years, and letting Nate go is the best option.
    Hill is a decent draft. He’s no Lee, but his defense will be helpful. Of course, it would be good to have Lee play at his position now that the Knicks will have a defensive center in Darko.
    Wilcox will be gone. I read somewhere that the Knicks will not make him an offer.

    The Knicks plans very much hinge on moving Curry and Jeffries. You get rid of those two contracts and 2010 starts looking much better.

    One question: are the Knicks talking about running Chandler as a SG this year?
    Because right now, if they sign Lee, they have him, Chandler, Gallinari, Jeffries, Harrington, Hill and Hunter(?) as forwards.

  43. Caleb

    fwiw, even with Curry and Jeffries the Knicks could re-sign Lee AND Nate and still have enough to offer about $14 million to a 2010 FA — a maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. That’s close to what they need to make a max offer. In a pinch they could clear another $2 million by moving Chandler; they also probably have the option of moving Lee or Nate in February. I’m all for exploring the options, but I don’t think the Knicks are up against a wall just yet. Trade deadline offers might not be great, but they won’t be worse than letting your best players walk for nothing.

    Of course, if they want to max out two FAs in 2010, they need to move Curry and Lee, or Curry, Nate and Jeffries.

  44. Frank O.

    You know, every year at about this time I start getting excited about the Knicks prospects. I realize most of this is hype and hope because the Knicks are not yet dealing from a position of strength.

    I like the idea of having a platoon of Darko and Curry at center, with Darko getting a majority of the minutes there. I don’t think anyone will touch Curry until they see him run for a bit. If he is healthy and useful by mid-season the Knicks might be able to move him.
    I’m very excited to see Gallinari healthy. He has a lot of tools that are useful in D’Antoni’s schemes.
    I like that Nate will be gone, as much as it’s fun to root for him. He’s such a gunner. He messes up the team flow. I feel the same way about Harrington. The man is out for himself.
    Jeffries is a huge waste of money.
    I hope the Knicks lose Hughes also, but only if they maintain the expiring contract for 2010, or can get a solid guard in return.

    But unless either Lee (if they sign him) or Chandler or Gallinari emerge as a legit elite player, this squad will maybe win 40 games.

  45. Ted Nelson

    “That’s true, but it seems like a minor factor — Walsh would proobably rather keep Lee at the salaries we’ve been throwing around, than let him leave for a 2nd round pick.”

    I have no insight into Walsh’s thought process, of course, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him gear up for two max players in 2010 rather than keep Lee. Then again, he seems to adhere to the old school don’t waste assets philosophy (won’t even cut a player) and he could trade Lee before the deadline if his plan is 2 in 2010.

    Does seem like the market for Lee might fall apart if OKC is going with Millsap. Besides Bosh and Bargnani, Toronto also has Kris Humphries who does some of the same things Lee does. They’ve also got Marion to worry about. Memphis is an unattractive destination, apparently. Portland has Alridge, Oden, and Przybilla inside. Detroit seems like the only other potential bidder under the cap. So, maybe the Knicks are in a strong position where they can keep Lee on the cheap or some sort of a semi-contender will offer an expiring contract and pick(s)/prospect(s) in a sign-and-trade.

  46. Frank

    I wonder if both Lee and Nate will be better off signing the qualifying offer and then going into 2010 as UFAs. Sure, there are bigger fish out there in 2010 but presumably the economy will be better and truth is, most of the big FAs will probably resign with their own teams who were over the cap anyway. I don’t know the #s off the top of my head but there are probably more teams with $$ to spend next year than this year — Lee and/or Nate would be very nice consolation prizes for teams that miss out on the Amares and Boshs of the world. As long as they take out a HEFTY insurance policy for injury and/or loss of skill, maybe that would be better for them?

  47. Frank O.

    I think the idea of keeping a player on the cheap, or a player taking millions less to stay in a location is a rarity. In fact, does anyone know of any good player that took a lesser playing contract?

    I mean the whole idea that Lee would stay in NY simply because he likes the city and his girl is there is ridiculous. For the $3 million more a year he’s likely to earn, he could be in NY on his off days and in the off season.
    And this argument about the endorsements is also specious. I mean, why not take the guaranteed money?
    That’s like saying someone would take a lesser paying job and a part time job in a preferred city rather than one guaranteed higher paying job somewhere else. I mean, who would do that?

    Either the Knicks offer more than anyone else for Lee or he’s gone.

    And then live with it. 2010 is the focus. No one on a 36-win team is indispensable.

  48. Caleb

    Next year will be really interesting — there will probably be more big-time FAs than ever, but there will also be at least 12 or 15 teams with serious cap room — expect some bidding wars.

    All that cap space means teams will also have a lot of flexibility in trades — it could get pretty wild, starting at this year’s deadline.

  49. Caleb

    IMO there’s a lot of posturing about Lee — no one’s actually offering an extra $3 million a year; the Knicks’ reported offer is almost the same as Memphis’ – just shorter. And NYK can easily add years, since the cap space will be gone by 2013, anyway.

    It’s not just the desirability of where you live; it’s the quality of the franchise. Memphis, like the Clippers, will always be a loser. No fan base, terrible owner, etc. The Knicks, on the other hand, have the most popular coach in the league and one of the best-respected GMs. They’re never going to be run on the cheap. Etc. The team may still be bad, but long-term, it’s a good situation. Not as good as the Lakers, or Mavs, or Celtics, or Rockets, but good.

  50. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    Right, which means some of these guys this year may sign 1-year deals to be and FA next year. A lot of cap space out there….

    One thing that is quirky about this board: Last year the Ron Artest debate was all the rage. The dude put up solid numbers last year and played an important role in keeping the Rockets in the hunt when Yao went down.
    And now, here we are, he’s a free agent and not a peep. He probably could be had for $7 million a year.

  51. Z

    “I think the idea of keeping a player on the cheap, or a player taking millions less to stay in a location is a rarity. In fact, does anyone know of any good player that took a lesser playing contract?”

    It happens in baseball but not in basketball I don’t think, for the sole reason that Basketball contracts don’t include “no-trade clauses”. Signing for less money to stay in a city opens the door to being traded to your LAST choice team just 3 months later and having no leverage to get out of it.

  52. Frank O.

    You know, Duhon wasn’t great, but he led the team in assists (7.2 per game), free throw percentage (85.7 percent) and 3pt percentage (39.1 percent).
    His TOs were up to 2.8 and his field goal percentage was 42, but all in all, not bad for a guy in a new system, who had to cope with several important trades.
    He got tired from running 44 minutes per game while the Knicks waited to hear if Cutino was ever going to play. I think his breakdowns were more about getting over-used than him not holding up during a regular season.

  53. Ted Nelson

    Frank,

    According to Hoopshype, Nate’s qualifier is $2.9 mill and Lee’s is $2.7… So assuming that both can pull down at least a one-year MLE deal this offseason (maybe Nate can’t?), I don’t know. Chances are they at least sign that deal and the Knicks probably match it. The disadvantage to taking a one year MLE somewhere and not having the Knicks match is that you lose your bird rights, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue next offseason with so many teams under the cap. Then again does a team put their MLE on hold for a week knowing the Knicks will match?

    If they can’t get a multi-year deal above the MLE, the most likely scenario might be negotiating a one year deal with the Knicks at $4-6 mill. The Knicks could play hard ball and refuse to offer more than the qualifier, but they’d build animosity and likely have to turn around and match an MLE deal anyway.

    “In fact, does anyone know of any good player that took a lesser playing contract?”

    Bruce Bowen is the only one I can think of, besides the end-of-the-road guys who sign with a contender.

    “Basketball contracts don’t include “no-trade clauses”.”

    His contract may be grandfathered or maybe he was just the only one with the leverage to do this, but Kobe is apparently the only guy in the NBA with a no trade clause… Based on that I don’t know if the CBA forbids Lee from demanding a no-trade clause to stay in NY for less money.

  54. nykslick

    If we do let D.Lee go its not like we’re not getting anything in return. If hes signed as a RFA we receive a compensatory pick. Which happens to be a 1st round pick, which also happens to be the year we have none (due to the Marbury trade, the pick ended up in Utah) in a possibly deeper draft class. If we sign and trade Lee I doubt we can get better potential value.

    Same goes for Nate, but I believe the compensation we get is a second round pick, which would be way low for his value. Nate was an integral part of our offense, he was our go to guy and when he struggled we rarely won. To say that Douglas is going to fill his shoes in a 3 year period is highly optimistic for a late first round pick. Douglas’ skill set is way below Kryptonates’. His defense is his possible advantage.

  55. Frank O.

    I did not know the Knicks would get a first rounder in 2010 if they let Lee go.
    That makes losing him a bit more palatable.

  56. Frank

    “I did not know the Knicks would get a first rounder in 2010 if they let Lee go.”

    I think that’s because it’s not true. I don’t believe there are such things as compensatory picks in the NBA (unlike in the NFL or MLB).

  57. Z

    Frank is right. It’s not true. The Knicks would get no pick if Lee signs with another team.

  58. BigBlueAL

    I just dont see where Lee is going to get a better contract anywhere else. Memphis is the only team who is pursuing him since Detroit would rather have Villanueva and OKC would rather have Millsap. Lets be serious its freaking Memphis. Actually it speaks to what teams think of him really if you look at it.

    If the Knicks offer him a few years at a bit over 8 mil per he should jump at it and re-sign with the Knicks. Hopefully thats what happens because I may not be his biggest fan but I would like to see him stay with the Knicks.

  59. nykslick

    I feel like we need to sign and trade him. The development of Gallinari and J.Hill is paramount for our future. Hopefully Gallinari can become a Turkoglu type of player.

  60. Ted Nelson

    Yeah, unfortunately, the NBA’s rules distort the market to the point where an UFA or RFA whose team won’t match are necessarily more attractive.
    Charlie is especially dealing from a position of weakness because he doesn’t have a fallback option. The Knicks will match up to at least $8 mill per for Lee and I’d assume Utah matches at least an MLE deal for Millsap. Joe Dumars is a master of getting value, and getting Villanueva for $6 mill may be better value than Lee/Millsap at more money, whoever you like the best of the three overall.

    nykslick, I don’t think it’s inconceivable that Gallinari will be better than Turkoglu THIS SEASON (assuming he’s healthy). At this point his game is different, though: he’s a better scorer and poorer distributor than Turk.
    I don’t think you actively make otherwise bad basketball moves just to make room for young players. If Hill and Gallinari are good players they’ll earn minutes (especially on the Knicks), and if they’re not then you’ve just gotten rid of your best player to give minutes to a bad player. Maybe it’s one factor that you have to consider along with the 2010 strategy, showcasing Curry/Jeffries (another case of giving minutes to a bad player, but for financial reasons), Lee’s actual value, etc.

  61. cwod

    So, the ways things are shaking out, OKC and Detroit and Portland know whom they’re targeting. It might just be Memphis and us in competition for Lee. I like our odds in that one.

  62. nykslick

    For now only, as soon as the calendar hits july 8th teams will make Lee offers I guarantee it. The reason hes not being offered anything is because it gives the Knicks a week to match, which means a team would ‘freeze’ the amount of cap money he is offering on a single free agent and lose any chance on competing for another FA and having a team match their offer would mean they went through a FA period with cap room but no one signed.

    Most GMs prioritize UFAs first and then attack RFAs since they know there is a waiting period.

  63. Ted Nelson

    “So, the ways things are shaking out, OKC and Detroit and Portland know whom they’re targeting. It might just be Memphis and us in competition for Lee. I like our odds in that one.”

    I think that’s fair right now, but a lot could change. Toronto and Portland are both rumored to be bidding on Turk, and then there’s the small chance that Orlando ponies up to keep their team in tact + VC… Maybe the Jazz pull a shocker and match a $10 mill per deal for Millsap, intent on letting Okur and Boozer both walk in 2010… Maybe Villanueva is partial to the Cavs and demands so much from the Pistons to go there instead that they balk… A lot of variables.

  64. BK

    I know it’s just shop talk around here with free agency, which is always fun. But losing Lee and Nate, getting rid of Duhon, Harrington, Jeffries, etc and adding middling players like Gortat and Sessions is going to make us a 15 to 20 win team. I want to get rid of contracts like Jeffries’ and Curry’s in the worst way, but too much cap clearing and acquiring modest talents for MLE money doesn’t make this team particularly attractive or competitive.

    As Mike K said in this post, there’s a pretty delicate balancing act at hand here, and I would prefer to hang on to productive guys like Duhon and Harrington unless we get significant value in return — at least short term. And apart from guard depth, we still need shooters.

    I’m very torn on Lee — absolutely don’t want to overpay, and not looking forward to another year of his defense. But next to someone like Gortat (or even Hill if he lives up to expectations), he could be an anchor for us the next few years.

  65. BigBlueAL

    Hey guys, anyone else intrigued about Morris Almond playing on the Knicks Summer League team????

  66. jon abbey

    “Amazing, I guess we are talking to Jason Kidd…”

    Dallas is offering him three years, $27 million (!!!!), so this won’t last long thankfully.

  67. Brian Cronin

    Kidd should have signed with Dallas as soon as they finished saying three years/$20 million, let alone waiting to hear the extra seven on top.

    Holy crap, that’s a lot of money for an old point guard. I mean, I get the theory – Dallas wants to attract one of the 2010 free agents and they think having Kidd will do that (presumably the same reason the Knicks want to have Kidd), but damn, that’s a lot of money.

  68. nykslick

    Harrington could be a good trading chip mid season for a team in need of a shooting big/sixth man. Nate and Lee are too talented to just let go, but like BK said I am not excited about another season of his defense which has been the same since he got drafted. I am not excited about overpaying Gortat or Sessions either, which would be the only way we can sign them since they are RFA.

    For now the best way to go in my opinion is to sign and trade Nate and Lee for contracts, picks or solid players.

  69. Ted Nelson

    “anyone else intrigued about Morris Almond playing on the Knicks Summer League team????”

    I guess you could say I’m intrigued. Not very hopeful, but definitely a guy worth taking a Summer League look at.

    He was a good draft prospect, but a mid-major guy, with questionable athleticism as I recall.

    His rookie year he stunk up the D-League… He did a lot better in a small D-League sample size this season. His NBA minutes have been scarce, but not encouraging in any way. Maybe going from a guaranteed deal to free agent headed for Europe wakes the guy up if it’s just been a matter of attitude/effort. If the situation was the problem, then moving from Sloan to D’Antoni would be a good solution.

  70. Z

    “Maybe the Jazz pull a shocker and match a $10 mill per deal for Millsap, intent on letting Okur and Boozer both walk in 2010… Maybe Villanueva is partial to the Cavs and demands so much from the Pistons to go there instead that they balk… A lot of variables.”

    I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jazz sign Millsap and trade Boozer to the Pistons for a $12 million trade exception. It could save them a lot of money, they are over-stocked at PF, and Boozer will bolt Utah in 2010 no matter what…

  71. Brian Cronin

    Ben Gordon just signed a five year/$55 million deal with the Pistons.

    Did anyone here think he had a chance of beating the offer he turned down last year?

    I know I sure didn’t.

  72. tastycakes

    Uh, don’t the Pistons have Rip Hamilton? 11 mil per year is quite a bit for a 6th man. Amazing that franchise won a championship not that long ago. They certainly don’t seem to have any in their immediate future after committing that much change to BenGo.

  73. Ted Nelson

    That is a generous deal for Gordon. I would consider him an upgrade over Rip, though, and would look to move Rip (who is 30 and locked up for a few more years) ASAP instead of having over 1/3 the cap tied up in two similar players.

  74. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    What a crazy world we live in when Villanueva gets just $5M more than Jerome James over a five-year deal.

  75. Brian Cronin

    So yeah, either Gordon or Rip have to be on the bench, right?

    What a weird deal.

  76. Ted Nelson

    “Rip for Boozer?”

    Guess signing Charlie V makes it unlikely.

    Still, I would say great deal for the Pistons: gain cap flexibility, add quality big. For Detroit to retain its luster as a free agent destination next season (not only for max guys, but for solid value free agents as well) I think they have to make the playoffs. The city itself is, sadly, falling apart. What they have going for them is a strong, winning organization. A 20-35 win season tarnishes that a little, especially if Stuckey doesn’t step forward as more than an average NBA player and/or the Gordon/Villanueva signings look bad. Why go to Detroit to play on a losing team with a weak core?

    For the Jazz, moving Boozer–highly paid and injury prone–and retaining a similarly productive, healthy player in Millsap is probably a good move. AK-47 can pick up some minutes at the 4, where a lot of people think he’s better anyway. Rip might be a good fit, as well. Brewer becomes one of the better 3rd guards in the L, and Hamilton gives the team an outside shooter they need. They still have Harpring and Korver under contract one more season, but the 3 becomes a weak spot. His age and salary are a bit of a concern. The Jazz only have $38 mill on the books for 2010/11 if Boozer and Okur walk (Brewer will be a RFA). Not like Utah is a huge free agent draw, though, and as a spot up shooter Rip should age pretty well. You also have to hesitate before trading big for small.

    If Utah keeps Boozer or gets a better offer, the Pistons should have some other (probably less attractive) options with Rip that would give them talent and/or cap space. Charlotte (Vlad-man, Raja, and a pick), Denver (JR Smith, Balkman, Weems), Boston (Ray Allen?), Clippers (Kaman), Cleveland (West, Gibson, Hickson), Houston (larger T-Mac deal?), Toronto (Reggie Evans, Marcus Banks), Indiana (Ford and Tinsley?) and some other teams that I see as less likely might express interest.

  77. Ted Nelson

    Boozer to Memphis (since Utah is already over the luxury tax line) would be great for Knicks fans…

  78. BigBlueAL

    Apparently Villanueva is getting 5 yr – 35 million. Sorry, no way Lee gets much more than that unless Memphis really desperately wants him.

  79. Z

    Villanueva is a good comp for Lee and 5 years $40 mil is in the Knicks budget; however, restricted FAs tend to command more than their market value (see Ted’s post above) for fear-of-matching.

  80. TDM

    Looks like Q may be traded to the Clippers for Zach.

    “The Grizzlies have agreed to trade Quentin Richardson to the Clippers for Zach Randolph.

    Richardson, whose contract expires after this season, was traded by the Knicks to the Grizzlies for Darko Milicic on draft night.

    The Clippers no longer had a need for Randolph, whom they acquired from the Knicks last November, with number one pick Blake Griffin inheriting the team’s power forward duties.”

  81. TDM

    Does this take Memphis out of the David Lee chase? David Lee already knows what its like playing beside Zach. But with Gasol at Center, Lee and Zach would be fighting for minutes. I don’t see that happening. Looks like the Knicks are in good position right now to retain him.

  82. BigBlueAL

    Well if Zach is headed to Memphis, Lee is all but guaranteed to come back to the Knicks. He better hurry up and accept whatever Donnie Walsh is willing to offer him because it looks like Lee has lost any leverage he had. Unless now Walsh wants to be a prick and really low ball Lee. Hopefully not and they agree to a deal soon and we move on knowing Lee will be a Knick for a long time (at a reasonable price of course!!).

  83. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Wow. You have to think that Lee might accept the qualifying offer and become a UFA next season.

  84. ess-dog

    So does this mean that Lee is the least desirable free agent power forward out there? Even throwing Zach Randolph in there?

    Speaking of, Z-bo steps into a great situation. Thabeet can do all the dirty work while Zach gobbles up boards and buckets. AND they got rid of Q and Darko…

  85. BigBlueAL

    Taking the qualifying offer to me is too risky. Assuming he can get 7 to 8 mill per year for a few years from the Knicks I say take it. If this off-season showed anything is outside of NY Im not too sure Lee is really looked at that highly. Hell Ric Bucher listed his Top 20 FA’s and Lee was 18th. Next year there are too many good FA’s that Lee will just be lost in the shuffle. I say take whatever the Knicks are willing to give him, be happy and take D’Antoni out to dinner for padding his stats.

  86. Frank O.

    Holy crap a lot has happened!
    Fascinating how old Knicks retreads are getting shoved around.
    I don’t want to get my hopes up on Lee, though.
    Expect a late bid on him and the Knicks having to decide whether to match.

  87. ess-dog

    A late bid from who? I just read that Toronto is now going after KLEIZA ahead of Lee. Oy.

  88. Frank O.

    The other thing to remember about Lee is he’s one of the best players on a bad team.
    So along with the crap around him he is in an offense that pads stats. I suspect teams are looking at that and wondering if this guy can produce.

  89. cwod

    A late bid from where? OKC, if Milsap stays in Utah?

    I’m confident that Ric Bucher is an idiot, but it might be true that execs view Lee more as an energy/role player and not as a super efficient scorer/rebounding machine.

  90. TDM

    Toronto may be out of the running. Rumors have them offering 5/$60M to Turkoglu. Besides, even if they offered Lee $10M per, don’t the tax implications in Canada make that offer much less desirable?

    If Toronto somehow pulls out the stops and gets Turkoglu, possibly look for Portland to ramp up efforts on Lee.

  91. Frank O.

    All I’m saying is that so much just happened that no one could have predicted.
    Someone moves Q for Zach. Some other FA stays put. The permutations are endless and not predicatable…

  92. ess-dog

    Portland needs a small forward and a point guard, not David Lee. Speaking of Portland, it looks like Rudy wants out. What/who could we trade for him?

  93. cwod

    Perhaps, but Portland already has a pretty good/young big-man rotation right now. I’m not sure, if I were them, I’d spend the big bucks on a backup PF when they’re looking for more of a playmaker.

  94. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Does Memphis have space to offer Lee a decent deal with Zach on the books? Let’s not forget which organization we’re talking about, here.

  95. Frank O.

    I mentioned this earlier, but no one was around. Last year this board was buzzing over the prospect of bringing Artest to NYC.
    Here it is Artest is an FA, but not a word on the board about Ron. I was wondering why. He put up good numbers last year, was instrumental in keeping the Rockets alive while Yao was out.
    I’m not saying he is good for the Knicks, especially as their first option, but I was wondering what the board thinks.
    Is it just so certain that the Rockets will retain him?

  96. BigBlueAL

    ess-dog I read the same thing about Rudy Fernandez. Plus he barely makes over 1 mil per year and is on his rookie contract for another 2 seasons. That would be a great pickup, sign-and-trade Nate for Rudy maybe???? Problem is his contract is so small dunno exactly how to make a trade fit, plus I would assume a bunch of teams would be all over him if he becomes available via a trade.

  97. TDM

    According to Caleb, the Griz are approx. $14 million under the cap. Zach is about $6M per more than Q, so I guess they could make an $8M per year offer to Lee. However, the Griz aren’t going to pay $8M for a backup PF, and $22M total for the PF position.

  98. Thomas B.

    Can we pick up Channing Frye? I think he would do okay in D’antoni’s offense. He is pretty much the anit Jordan Hill. And What is Frank Williams up to these days?

  99. cwod

    I don’t know. Zach makes $16 million this coming year. But he’s an automatic 20 and 10, so..

  100. jon abbey

    that’s good news (on Randolph to Memphis), but I’m expecting Utah to match the offer to Millsap, then we’ll see what happens. this is the Knicks, we always get screwed somehow.

  101. Thomas B.

    Can someone explain why any team would pick up Z-bo? Do these GM not watch games. THe last two teams Zach played on could not get 30 wins. So I guess the Grizz are going to win what, 27 games?

  102. cwod

    Nate to Portland could work, maybe. Aren’t he and Roy friends? And we wouldn’t have to make the salaries work, right, because of Portland’s salary situation?

  103. Frank O.

    By the way, it’s pretty comical reading people peeing all over Memphis.
    The Knicks haven’t posted a winning record in something like six years….and have been an utterly failed organization…

  104. Thomas B.

    This just in:

    “Memphis Examiner is reporting that applications for strip clubs have risen an anstonishing 1200% following news that Zach Randolph will play in Memphis this season.”- ASSociated press

  105. BigBlueAL

    Funny thing is all the reports were saying that Millsap was going to wait for Lee to sign and use his contract as a starting point for his negotiations. I figure with Villanueva signing already that should be the contract to be used as comparison.

  106. Ted Nelson

    Wow… Crazy stuff. Zach, OJ, Gay… That should be an interesting implosion.
    Things are looking great for the Knicks…

    “Speaking of, Z-bo steps into a great situation. Thabeet can do all the dirty work while Zach gobbles up boards and buckets. AND they got rid of Q and Darko…”

    Is there really any situation in which you want to have Zach Randolph on your (NBA) team? He and Gasol could be one of the worst defensive frontcourts out there, so I would agree that Thabeet steps into a great situation… imagine the OReb opportunities playing next to Z-Bo.

    “I just read that Toronto is now going after KLEIZA ahead of Lee. Oy.”

    Toronto has Bosh, Bargnani, Humphries, and Evans… I don’t think they’re going for Klieza ahead of Lee, but as a 3 man.

  107. jon abbey

    Artest wants to win a title, Frank. he’s supposedly talking to the Cavs and Lakers.

  108. Ted Nelson

    “By the way, it’s pretty comical reading people peeing all over Memphis.
    The Knicks haven’t posted a winning record in something like six years….and have been an utterly failed organization…”

    But… there’s light at the end of the tunnel, in large part because we no longer have Zach Randolph’s contract on our books. You can no longer say that about Memphis.

    The weird thing is that Memphis has a pretty promising young group, why clog your cap with Zandolph?

  109. Ted Nelson

    Frank O., re: Artest

    I think it’s partially that the Rockets seem likely to retain him, partially that if he moves on it’s probably to a better team than the Knicks (as you and Jon point out), and partially that we’ve set our hopes higher than that at this point. Summer 2010 is feeling pretty close, and with even a 1% chance of getting LeBron (not to mention all the other free agents, some with a good chance of being Knicks if Walshtoni focus on recruiting them), Artest seems like a waste of time.

  110. Caleb

    Fernandez is under contract for two years and has no leverage – it doesn’t matter what he wants.

    It’s been a few months since we had a good David Lee argument :) but since in the last few weeks, people have been throwing around the “his stats are padded by playing for D’Antoni” argument, I’ll just point out that this is only true of per-game stats… his efficiency and per-minute numbers have been extremely consistent the past three years, with his 2006-2007 being the best. There are plenty of GMs who see things like Ric Bucher, but there are plenty of sharp ones, too… DL’s problem is that no one has cap room to spare.

    IMO there’s been way too much drama about this — by all signs, he wants to be in New York, management likes him and they’re not even that far apart on dollars. I will be very surprised if he doesn’t sign a long-term deal this summer — 6 years, somewhere between $45-55 million… excellent value.

    p.s. Utah is pretty well screwed — swapping Boozer for Hamilton might be the best they can do. No one will trade much for Boozer, because he’s probably not signing an extension before next summer, so it’s just a one-year rental. Hamilton is obviously on the downslope, but Utah is a good playoff team who can use a vet – they don’t care about cap space, because they’re not much of a destination in the first place. Tough call, for them.

  111. Caleb

    I was shocked to see Artest won’t be 30 until November – seems like he’s been around forever. Still, he’s on the downswing and does anyone have confidence that he won’t go nuts within 2 or 3 years? He is not getting a big contract from anyone, much less a rebuilding team. Some contender will give him the mid-level for 2-3 years, at most.

  112. Caleb

    Chris Wallace has always rivaled Isiah and McHale for crappy GM-ness… I guess you could throw Mike Dunleavy in there.

  113. cwod

    If I saw Darko, Rudy, and Danilo all on the court at once, all in Knicks uniforms… I don’t know.

  114. Caleb

    At this point there’s enough cash out there for 3 more “big” signings — Portland, Toronto and Oklahoma City. Only OKC can offer enough to dissuade Walsh from matching — and it doesn’t look like they’re going to try.

    3 money slots, who gets them? Turkoglu, for sure… after that… Millsap? Ariza? Marion? (in Toronto) Andre Miller? Boozer, via trade?

  115. Frank O.

    I confess, I have little hope the Knicks will be good this year. The best I can imagine is the Knicks moving Curry and Jeffries and getting some rent-a-players for one year, so that they are primed to land two max FAs next year.

    Since I joined this board three years ago…or two, can’t remember, I’ve been saying getting cap healthy was the only way this franchise turns the corner.
    Otherwise they’re always making deals with another GM’s hand in their pocket.

    Donnie, keep shedding contracts. Bring in young players. In 2010, they start fresh. This coming year, the Knicks need only be competitive. Attracting good players is more about dollars than it is about great parts.

    Only teams with great players can attract great players, and in those cases, often they lack the cap space because of the great players they have.

    Walsh sheds these contracts and I like their chances in 2010.

  116. Caleb

    If Lee sticks around, Gallinari keeps it up for 2000 minutes and we have Nate or someone else remotely decent in the backcourt, I could see the Knicks making a run at .500.. that’s probably the ceiling this year. Maybe a few more wins if they sign Gortat, something like that.

  117. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I mostly agree on Utah/Boozer. One way they can get great value for Boozer is if he’s hurt again next season. They can go the good player, long-term contract route (Rip, Luol, Josh Smith, etc) or the worse expiring plus prospect(s)/pick(s) route which is more volatile: lower downside, higher upside.

  118. Frank O.

    You know, I like this Darko deal.
    If there is a coach that can make that guy produce it’s D’Antoni.
    To me, he and Gallinari are the pivot guys. If those two play well…
    See, there we go again.
    We still have an average point. We still have N8 and his bipolar tendencies. We still have Harrington and his gunner mentality. We still have Curry and his baggage. We still have Jeffries, who will never improve. We still have Chandler, who is a role player at best right now.
    So many things would have to go right…just to get to .500.

  119. Z-man

    I like the roster we have right now more than I have in several years. There is hope and there is a plan that makes sense. There is a coach and a GM that seem to know what they’re doing and are on the same page. Hill, Douglas, Gallo and Chandler are all young, promising players. Curry cant possibly have a worse year than he had last year. Darko is an upgrade at center. There are more young PGs in the league than ever looking for an opportunity. We are positioned to get a stud in 2010. We might find a way to keep Lee and Nate without capping out.

    Has anyone heard any recent updates on Gallo’s back? He’s supposed to work out with the summer league team but not play, right?

  120. Ben R

    If Rudy really wants out of Portland we should make a play for him. Try a Nate sign and trade for Rudy + Outlaw (who Portland does not want and is expiring), or a Duhon + Cash for Rudy + Outlaw or Chandler straight up for Rudy.

    Rudy is really mad that the Blazers chased after Hedo and is talking about leaving the NBA altogether.

  121. Caleb

    According to ESPN, NBA has agreement with FIBA where he won’t be allowed to break his Blazers contract to go back to Europe

  122. BK

    Mike, I like Von Wafer, because we certainly need shooting. But we have to face the reality that he’s Al Harrington reincarnated as a combo guard — crazy scorer with zero inclination to pass. Seeing him, Nate and Al on the floor at the same time could be seriously hazardous to people’s health.

    But looking at Hollinger’s list of unheralded free agents, the pickings are mighty slim right now past Gortat, Sessions, and (big throat clearing cough here) maybe Marvin Williams.

  123. TDM

    The sports reporters here in LA are reporting that Ariza is pissed that the Lakers are making a full court press for Odom and leaving him with the mid-level. They are saying that he is on the verge of leaving the Lakers for another team, even if it is only for the mid-level.

    Cleveland is reportedly very interested. The irony is palpable.

  124. Brian Cronin

    Monty Williams is apparently a hot coaching prospect right now.

    I barely remember him – does anyone recall what he was like?

    Was he a guy that you could have imagined then being an NBA head coach in the future?

  125. CJHangen

    Great Article,
    Couple of thoughts:

    The Wizards found their two guards (Miller and Foye) with their draft day trade between the Wolves. Don’t know if they are interested in Hughes and Jefferies anymore. It would have been a sweet way to unload Jefferies.

    On that note, the Knicks need to find someone to take Jefferies in a sign and trade this summer because there is no way they unload both him and Curry during the season.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Curry opted out next season?…think about it

  126. Z

    “Monty Williams is apparently a hot coaching prospect right now. I barely remember him – does anyone recall what he was like?”

    I remember Monty. He was a Notre Dame guy who was diagnosed with a bad heart and kept a de-fib machine in the tunnel during games. He was a solid player with a decent mid-range game. He started a bunch of games his sophomore year when someone got hurt. Can’t remember who. Maybe Charles Smith? Un-spectacular, but you felt pretty secure when he was in. Kind of like a poor man’s Grant Hill. I think he was drafted with Charlie Ward but a little higher. Maybe I’m wrong about all this– my memory’s not quite what it used to be.

    And how freakin’ awesome is that Clips-Griz trade!! That made my night. Poetic justice…

  127. cav0011

    Z you are right. At least about the draft class. I dont remember the order of the picks I think they might have even been back to back. like 18-19 or something like that. Anyhow he wasnt awful he was just unremarkable. On the flipside how many good players wind up working out as coaches, not a whole lot that I can think of offhand.

  128. Ben R

    I still think we should take a flier on Powe he is a great player that will probably go unsigned because of his injury. I say sign him now cheap and wait it out.

  129. jon abbey

    after many years of being abused as a Knicks fan, I’m seriously debating if this is the last straw:

    “Sources close to the process told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that Knicks president Donnie Walsh has decided that he will indeed make a three-year offer to Kidd, even though having such an offer accepted would almost certainly slice into some of New York’s projected salary-cap space for the highly anticipated free-agent bonanza in the summer of 2010.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4300452

    I don’t think Walsh is any better than Isiah, honestly, whether or not he ends up with Kidd here. this team will never be fixed until Dolan sells it.

  130. Nick C.

    After the way Kidd finished out in NJ, getting Scott fired, being accused of tanking to force a trade to the Lakers and the whole migraine crpa before he forced his way out to get with a contender in Dallas is he really a positive influence. Dallas pretty much was done as a serious contender with him there (not that its all or anything on him but still). What are they thinking?? 5 years ago OK, 7 years ago OK, but now I don’t see it at all. Hasn’t anyone learned anything in this town.

  131. chris.afroman

    I think the Nate for Rudy and Outlaw trade only works if Portland picks up Turkoglu in free agency this year (since they’ll have too many SFs fighting for playing time) and if Portland sees Nate as a PG for them. Of course, having Rudy gives NY another great shooter, but his perimiter D is a bit questionable…still an excellent player (watch footage of him in the Olympics). Dunno if Portland really would feel that Nate for Rudy and Outlaw is a fair swap…seems like a steal for NY.
    I’m not sold on the J-Kidd idea, either. A 36-year-old for 3 years? Averages like 9 ppg….he’s a great leader and passer, but really? 3 years at this age? He already can barely defend good PGs..in three years, his D will be worse than Nash’s.
    We have too many power forwards at the moment. Harrington should be the easiest to move based on skill…..but I haven’t heard any interest in him. And he’s our leading scorer..one of the few players who can really create his own shot on our team. Still, somebody’s gotta want a 21 PPG player who can hit the 3.

  132. Caleb

    Toronto for Lee is a scary thought. If the Ariza rumor is true, you’d think that he would be the perfect target for Toronto.

    Walsh’s offer to Kidd – do you get the feeling this is a little bit of Kabuki theater?

    If not, unless he has a secret deal in his pocket for Curry, signing Kidd for 3 years is ludicrous.

  133. Caleb

    What I mean by Kabuki is – Walsh gets to be seen as trying aggressively to make the Knicks better, while knowing that the signing won’t happen – Kidd’s not leaving $30 million on the table to take $18 million from a worse team. I think.

    On the other hand – a scary scenario is emerging – the Knicks sign Kidd and Grant Hill, swap Lee for Marion and make a run for the “Legends” title. Oof.

    Powe would be great if you can get him on the cheap but I don’t know… He was up for the full mid-level, and if Ainge is letting him walk I wonder if the Boston doctors don’t know something bad, bad, bad.

    If the Lakers let Ariza walk, I might read it as a sign they want Artest.

    Hollinger’s list is good — I’d love to sign Jamario Moon for a million or two, a defender and rebounder on the wing is a huge missing part. But I don’t think he’s Walsh’s type. On the other hand, he’s sort of a poor, poor man’s Shawn Marion – good comp in style, if not talent.

    Von Wafer would be a good pickup, for cheap, but those guys aren’t so hard to find – you don’t want to jeopardize your 2010 cap room by throwing out a bunch of little contracts.

  134. TDM

    I’m not too concerned about Toronto making a move for Lee. If they don’t get Turk, they’ll go for Ariza. The only way they could get Lee IMO is thru a sign and trade. Marion is looking for more than the mid-level, and from history, we know that you do not want Marion on your team if he is unhappy (i.e. doesn’t feel he is being compensated or playing enough), so I don’t see Donnie agreeing to taking him back. Maybe something with Anthony Parker?

    Grant Hill is interesting, at the right price. I haven’t seen a lot of interest in him. Apparently, Denver is looking to offer him a deal at $3M per year. Even if the Knicks offered him the full MLE, Hill may leave money on the table to go to a contender like the Nuggets.

  135. d-mar

    I would be absolutely shocked if Walsh actually signed Kidd to a 3 year deal and f–ed up our cap situation in 2010. And there’s no way he has some secret deal worked out to unload Curry’s contract. So it’s just smoke and mirrors, Cuban is not going to let Kidd go and he will re-sign with the Mavs.

    Not sure I understand the interest in Hill, his career is on the downswing and what does he give us? I would go after Von Wafer though.

  136. Ted Nelson

    “I still think we should take a flier on Powe he is a great player that will probably go unsigned because of his injury. I say sign him now cheap and wait it out.”

    If you can get him cheap and he recovers, it would definitely be a good/great move. Three things though.
    1. It’s not just this injury, he also had major knee problems in college (no idea if it was the same knee). I have no idea what that means for the future, but it’s something to think about.
    2. As much as it would seem that teams are hesitating to sign him because of the injury (and they probably are), he also might not want to sign at a reduced rate because he’s injured. Once he’s healed he may get more money, and (if he thinks he’ll be healthy) probably signs a one-year deal with an option or something so that he can prove his worth.
    3. On a small one year contract he’d be a great signing for the Knicks, but is NY really the best fit? Lee??, Hill, Milicic, Curry, Jeffries, Harrington, WC, etc. would all be competition for minutes.

  137. jagermeister

    I don’t understand the negativity that I see on this board sometimes. Yes, we’ve been a tortured fan base for quite some time now, but do we really wanna throw in the towel because we may sign a future Hall of Famer with some gas left in the tank? Yes, this is the twilight of his career, but last season he made the Mavs look decent last season after everyone thought the Harris/Kidd trade was as lopsided as it gets. He looks like he has at least 3 decent years left. Plus he thrives in an up-tempo offense like he’d have here. And his intangibles can’t be overlooked either. I mean, what’s to say that he wouldn’t be the key attraction for other free agents to come to NY and run in D’Antoni’s system? We’ve all seen more improbable things happen – things that are not related to stats and player upside – why would this be so far fatched?

    Look, I understand our cap situation is the key here, and I understand it even more thanks to the copious amount of knowledge on this board. It would pretty much mandate DW to move Curry or Jeffries this year in order to accomodate a J-Kidd 3 year MLE signing. But last year our cap situation looked even more hideous, and look what management has been able to do to get us where we are today.

    Getting a young point guard for D’Antoni to mold (Rubio / Sessions) would probably be a preferable solution, but that’s an extreme longshot at best. I, for one, would be onboard with a Kidd signing and trusting DW to right the salary cap wrongs that Isiah left us with.

  138. Z

    “Utah is pretty well screwed — swapping Boozer for Hamilton might be the best they can do. No one will trade much for Boozer, because he’s probably not signing an extension before next summer, so it’s just a one-year rental”

    Lee + Jeffries for Boozer?

  139. Caleb

    Lee + Jeffries for Boozer?

    That’s a pretty interesting proposition… Not sure Boozer is worth it, with all his injuries and general headaches that he causes… but he definitely does some damage when he’s straight. What would he cost, I wonder?

    Also have to wonder if Lee would go for this…

  140. Ted Nelson

    I don’t see Toronto going for Lee. They’ve got Bosh, Bargnani, Humphries, Evans, and the great Nathan Jawai. I suppose maybe they could sign Lee and trade Humphries for a wing. Marion left Phoenix on somewhat bad terms with D’Antoni and has been a bit critical of D’Antoni since leaving, so I don’t know if that’s a possibility. On the other hand, begging D’Antoni to take him may be the best way to resurrect his career at this point… then again, would be labeled as a guy who could only play for D’Antoni.

    I can see that I’m in the minority and there may be something to Caleb’s “Kabuki” theory, but I think Kidd makes the team instantly better and may be the best course of action. By resigning Lee/Nate I think the Knicks basically take themselves out of the LeBron chase: Cleveland would have to absolutely implode. The only way I see the Knicks having a real shot at LeBron is to also sign Wade, Bosh, or at least Amare or Joe Johnson. Of course, letting Lee and Nate for the somewhat slim chance of getting two max FAs would be very risky (remember that the NBA stacks the deck against max players leaving their old team, and it would take two stars willing to take less money or two sign-and-trades).
    As far as Kidd, the thought would be, first, to contend for the playoffs right now. Furthermore, to use Kidd’s passing and D’Antoni’s offense to get the most out of your players/ boost trade value:
    -Kidd instantly makes Wilson Chandler look like Richard Jefferson, making him either a valuable piece or great trade bait.
    -He could play in the backcourt with Nate or Duhon, guarding 2s and hitting those guys for jumpers. Duhon would still see decent minutes at the point letting an aging Kidd rest.
    -Kidd would make Lee even better, and get something out of the Knicks other bigs: Harrington plays within the offense (doubtful, I know), Curry becomes legit trade bait, the Legend of Bagger D’Antoni grows as Milicic becomes a real NBA player offensively, Hill looks like a good/great #8 pick, maybe even Jeffries benefits from Kidd’s passing.
    The Knicks are in a good spot to go after a bigman like Bosh in 2010, having more valuable pieces for a sign-and-trade if that’s what it takes. Or could use some of those pieces in a sign-and-trade for a second big free agent. On the other hand, if they like the group they have they could go out and get a player from a team looking to clear salary. This philosophy burned Isiah, but with everyone looking to clear space for 2010, the real value may be had by the teams willing to take on salary (especially if LeBron, Wade, and Amare–after being traded–stay put).
    But, yeah, Kidd is probably staying in Dallas, so I’ve just wasted a bunch of time…

  141. Ted Nelson

    “Lee + Jeffries for Boozer?”

    As far as deals to get rid of Jeffries’ contract using Lee in a sign-and-trade go, that’s not a bad one. I don’t like Boozer as a long-term piece, but as a one year playoff run rental or deadline trade bait… love it.

    I think Lee might take it. His options seem like zero right now. The Jazz are a good organization and a playoff team in the West. Never been to Utah, but it’s at least got skiing and natural beauty…

    Don’t know if the Jazz do it…

  142. Caleb

    “By resigning Lee/Nate I think the Knicks basically take themselves out of the LeBron chase:

    It’s not quite that grim. With no FA signings this summer, the Knicks would find themselves with about $14 million next year… and could always move Chandler to clear another $2 million. Keeping Lee and moving Nate would leave them about $20 million to offer LeBron.

    If they re-sign Lee, sign Kidd, and then swap Jeffries and Nate for an expiring deal — net result is the same, about $20 million in cap room next year.

  143. Ted Nelson

    I don’t mean they take themselves out financially, I meant that in 2010 LeBron is coming off a 60+ win season and deep playoff run/championship. The Cavs have the cap space to go for Joe Johnson, Amare, Bosh, etc. Does he leave that to play with Lee, Gallinari, Nate, Duhon, Chandler, Hill, Douglas, etc.?

    I see it as extremely unlikely. Would take that group making a playoff run and/or the Cavs imploding. LeBron would have to be pessimistic about the Cavs’ chances going forward, optimistic about the Knicks’, and dead-set on becoming a pariah by leaving his hometown team (possibly after a championship season) for money. He’d risk becoming an even bigger target than A-Rod.

    If you take the clear cap space for two max FAs approach, you’re basically betting against the Cavs winning it all. If they do LeBron has no excuse to leave. If they fall short again everyone blames Ferry’s desperate moves and inability to put a championship caliber supporting cast around the NBA’s best player, and LeBron decides that he needs a second All-Star, plus a Gallinari, and a good supporting cast.

  144. jon abbey

    “The Cavs have the cap space to go for Joe Johnson, Amare, Bosh, etc.”

    you’re assuming any of those guys would sign in Cleveland, even with LeBron there. possible, but it’s still Cleveland.

    “He’d risk becoming an even bigger target than A-Rod.”

    this will never happen under any circumstances (maybe if he was convicted as a serial rapist of 13 year old boys), as LeBron is far more universally likeable, no matter what he does.

  145. Ted Nelson

    “you’re assuming any of those guys would sign in Cleveland, even with LeBron there. possible, but it’s still Cleveland.”

    I’m not assuming that all of those guys sign anywhere. I’m saying that Cleveland has the room to sign any of those guys and that with LeBron they have a good shot at one of them. I don’t know which one, but Bosh seems like he’s gone, Amare seems like he’s gone, and I’ve read that LeBron is ready to make a push for Joe Johnson in Cleveland.

    “this will never happen under any circumstances (maybe if he was convicted as a serial rapist of 13 year old boys), as LeBron is far more universally likeable, no matter what he does.”

    I said “he’d risk becoming” not that he would become. Basketball is a sport where one player has a much bigger impact than baseball. Still, though, if he leaves Cleveland for NYC and doesn’t win a title he’s probably a pariah… maybe as much in NYC as around the country.

  146. jon abbey

    “Still, though, if he leaves Cleveland for NYC and doesn’t win a title he’s probably a pariah… maybe as much in NYC as around the country.”

    I doubt this will actually be the case (and certainly not in NYC, where people will throw themselves at his feet and kiss them wherever he goes, are you high?). but even in Cleveland, he’s battled his ass off for years for them, while getting as little help from the GMs/coaches/teammates as one could imagine.

    building around a superstar of his caliber really isn’t that hard over a few seasons, you see what Orlando has done with Dwight Howard. what you’re saying may be the conventional wisdom, but I’m not sure it’ll actually ever come to that, if indeed he leaves.

    the rest of the country has come to expect this possible scenario for a while, he’d be no more of a pariah than Shaq was when he signed with the Lakers without winning Orlando a title, that is to say not at all.

    so to sum up, NY=loved like no other athlete has been in decades, Cleveland=a mix, but at least some would understand, and the rest of the country=business as usual. at least that’s what I think.

  147. Ted Nelson

    “I’m not sure it’ll actually ever come to that, if indeed he leaves.”

    I’m not sure it will either, but I just think it’s a risk. If LeBron wins a title/titles in NYC than I don’t think he’s a pariah, certainly not in NYC. It’s if he doesn’t that he risks losing face.

    He’d be leaving behind a better team, taking less money for less years, and risk tarnishing the brand he’s working so hard to build. On the other hand, coming to NYC could probably do a lot more good for his image than harm… so I guess the risk of tarnishing his image is the least of his worries. Leaving a better team (maybe coming off a championship) that has the potential to sign a second star or a few strong role players and taking less money are probably more primary concerns. There’s the argument that he’d make more money in endorsements, I have no idea how valid that is seeing how much he already makes but it makes sense that he’d become more of a global celebrity in NYC. The team aspect might be a bit neutralized if the Knicks can also get Bosh or at least Amare in 2010 and depending on how the roster develops this season. So, theoretically, I guess it might really just come down to whether LeBron wants to be a hometown hero and become the biggest deal in Cleveland since… Drew Carey… ok maybe since Rockefeller. Or if he wants to be the biggest sports figure in the world. Seems like the later is more so the case, so my guess is that LeBron’s coming to NY!!! Sort of kidding, but that’s really the most logical conclusion I can come to.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about how the surest way to LeBron is the cap-space/ two superstars approach, but I guess one or two sign-and-trades make more sense… Unfortunately I don’t know that Cleveland would be willing to help LeBron leave, but Toronto might be anxious to get Lee and change if they hold on to Bosh all season and they know they’re losing him. Then you come down to Lee at $8 mill vs. Bosh maxed out, but if it’s the difference of getting LeBron then who cares?

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